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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Go West young man, go West

Well what a remarkable day. Aside from the weather being on and off like a leaky tap, it was a day for achievements at Loch Fyne. The tannin from the surrounding hills running off into the loch with the rain made the first 5 metres brown and murky but after that, it just kept getting better and better.
Surprisingly, its not raining in this picture....
Talking about achievements, I finally broke the several thousand hour barrier for being underwater (not all in one go obviously), secondly, I had the best dive here ever (which wouldn't have been possible had Elaine not abondoned me. Thank you, I owe you!).

Thirdly but most importantly, this was the day that Jill was able to get back in water in the UK since her illness over a year ago. And she racked up a 73 minute run time as well which is no mean feat. Hopefully we'll have her back in the water again in a couple of weeks time and on a regular basis to make sure she doesn't dry out.
Jill back in the saddle again. that's my girl!

The whole loch was alive and jumping with life and the dogfish were in abundance and very playful with it too. Had I had a stick to throw I'm sure they would have fetched it to bring it back.
Ready for a game of fetch?
The nudibranchs were also out in force big time, getting it on in a very serious way. Lucky I'm not a prude or I would have been shocked. I have seen rutting on this scale since Debbie does Dallas!
Get it on, bang a gong! Nudibranch porn
Squat lobsters, gobies and blennies where adding to the attraction and  putting on a fine showing,  moocing around about the reef. I also had the added bonus of some surprise visitors for the first 15 minutes of the dive. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was zipping by in my peripheral vision and bumping into my legs and fins. 

Eventually after a great deal of twisting, turning and rolling in the water to find out what was happening,  I figured it out. I had cormorants diving in and swimming about me on the hunt for a lunchtime snack. It's amazing to watch them in the water, the speed they move at. I only managed to get one half decent shot out of dozens as they are lighting fast. But watching them at work was a real treat.
Cormorant on the hunt
Heading deeper down past the 20 metre reef, I was delighted to find a new part of the loch that I hadn't seen beefore with some beautiful firework anemones and vast array of langoustines for good measure. This also inclused a very shy conger who was not one for showing it's snout from under it's rock. I'll get it properly next time....
You wouldn't believe how far I had to crawl under this rock to get this shot
Langoustine, and plenty of them down there
Working along the new found section of reef proved to be very rewarding with a fine selection of pipefish tangled in amonst the kelp and a swarm of lions mane jelly fish in formation just above my head providing a spectacular fly by (or undulating by if you prefer).
One of many pipefish. Don't know why they're called pipefish. They never smoke pipes....
Lions mane on the move
Without a doubt, it has been an absolute blast of a day with the marine life turning out in full force, the surprising new little section of reef and Jill getting back in the water. The day just doesn't get any better. 

With this particular dive site, it's fully accessible and right beside the road, loads of parking, setup space space and best of all, nobody dives it because they think it's a boring place. 

All I can say to that is I'm glad they think it's boring and go elsewhere because this is one of the best kept secrets on the West of Scotland and we have it all to ourselves!
Jill:"Are you sure?" Hamish: "That's definately it over there!" Elaine: "No, I still don't see it. Where's my glasses?"